‘Debt-crippled on a dying planet… what a legacy for our kids’
I never expected to debate with one of my kids whether or not they should go on strike with like-minded colleagues.
Where I come from, to not offer solidarity by downing tools is to leave yourself an outcast with the word SCAB metaphorically tattooed on your head.
But when the tools are pens and textbooks, and it’s the second vague strike against the effects of climate change, and the headmaster’s written to warn against allowing your daughter to take an unauthorised absence, you have to be sure she’s not just bunking off under cover of some fake concern for polar bears.
My questioning was met with mockery: “Yeah, you didn’t strike to save the Earth when you were 15 because everyone still thought it
Followed by a tweet which read: “1. The oceans are being killed. 2. Forests will soon be gone. 3. Fertile soil is disappearing. 4. Megafauna risk extermination. 5. Insects are vanishing. 6. Climate chaos is inevitable. 7. Extinction is now. 8. Plastic is in our blood.”
And some brutal honesty: “You shouldn’t even have a say about climate change as you won’t be around to see
So I told her to pick up her “What I Stand For Is What I Stand On” placard and join her marching comrades because the cause is just (plus I couldn’t bear to see her turn into serial picket-line crosser like Nicholas Witchell).
Well done to all the kids who yesterday took direct action in 80 countries across the world because, you know what, you’re right.
In 2018, the UN said there were only 12 years left to avoid the worst impacts of ecological breakdown – floods and heatwaves leading to chronic food shortages and vast numbers of refugees.
The selfish, short-sighted generations that came before you have allowed rapacious businessmen and cynical politicians to screw up this planet to a frightening degree, and it is your basic human right to say “enough is enough”.
Indeed the rapacious businessman and cynical politician who is the nominal leader of the free world is so ignorant and dismissive of the planet he’ll soon leave behind he refuses to understand the difference between climate and weather.
But global warming is merely the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to the damage being willingly doing to the younger generation.
Take this country. Our kids will be the first generation to end up poorer than their parents, earning less wages, having fewer savings and working longer for worse pensions.
They’re crippled with debt if they go into higher education, housing benefit has been taken away and rent-to-buy schemes set up to help them have worked for the benefit of building firm shareholders.
They can’t walk the streets in safety because, in the name of austerity, we’ve taken away most of the police.
The youth centres and libraries have been shut and some schools close early because they’re skint.
And as politicians bend over backwards to keep the Rule Britannia wing of the older generation happy over Brexit, hundreds of thousands of young people who have become eligible to vote since 2016 are denied a say in it.
So rather than knocking them for striking over climate change we should be grateful that’s the only issue they’re throwing down their pens and textbooks over.
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